In his WSJ op-ed today, which the paper headlined “The President Risks Getting Stale: Continuous TV appearances can’t rescue a bad argument,” former Bush adviser Karl Rove criticized President Obama’s interviews on five Sunday morning talk shows this past weekend. “Mr. Obama doesn’t need more TV time,” wrote Rove. “More talk doesn’t automatically lead to greater public support, but it can erode public confidence in your leadership.”
While the impact of Obama’s “full Ginsburg” is open for debate, it’s surprising to hear Rove criticize the White House for having Obama make so many public appearances. In his new memoir, former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer writes that “Rove was of the belief that the president needed to be out speaking every day no matter what the subject”:
Other speeches were scheduled for no apparent reason at all. Karl Rove was of the belief that the president needed to be out speaking every day no matter what the subject. Sometimes Bush would be at the podium four separate times in twenty-four hours, talking about the war in Iraq, the Olympics, the economy, or the birth of Thomas Jefferson. And the next day there might be another speech on Iraq, one more on the economy and maybe a salute to Irish Americans. This obviously made it hard to broadcast a coherent message. [Latimer, pp. 181-182]
There has been concern among some that Obama’s media campaign to push health care reform could leave him overexposed. But the recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll says that’s not the case. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they see “the right amount” of the president.
Additionally, Rove asserts that “Americans have taken the measure of Mr. Obama’s health-care plan and, as his falling poll numbers attest, increasingly don’t like it.” But in reality, Pollster’s aggregation of public opinion surveys shows that support for both Obama’s health care plan and his handling of the issue has been increasing as of late.